Why Motor Skills Matter


Animal Walks

“An actor is never so great as when he reminds you of an animal-falling like a cat, lying like a dog, moving like a fox.” -Francois Truffaut

By Cara Yochai, DPT


Animals move in a variety of amazing ways. Humans walk on two feet, otherwise known as bipedal locomotion. However, there is much to gain from going back to some of the earlier movements, like crawling. (More to come on that in a future post!)

This is a great DIY-project that your kids will enjoy participating in while also getting the opportunity to work on many gross motor skills. If you have extra cardboard around the house, try taping it into the shape of a cube. Tape the around the edges so that the cube stays strong and sturdy. Print pictures of different animals. Your child can color the picture before you tape it on the cube.

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Bear Walk:

  • Walk with arms and feet touching the floor and knees remaining off of the floor

  • Promotes weight bearing through the arms-strengthens the shoulder muscles

  • Provides vestibular input by the head being inverted

  • Allows your child to work on coordination

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Penguin Walk:

  • Walk on heels with toes up off of the floor

  • Helps to activate the dorsiflexor muscles, the muscles on the top of the foot

  • A great activity to try if your child prefers to walk on his or her toes

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Frog Jump:

  • Sit low near the floor, hips turned out wide, feet flat on the ground (Just like the picture of the frog)

  • Encourage your child to push through both of their legs and try to jump up and forward

  • Promotes a deep squat position with explosion through the legs to help strengthen the lower body

Crab Walk:

  • With face up, push through arms and legs to lift the booty off of the floor

  • Total body strengthening: arms, legs, core, and booty!

  • Challenges the brain to coordinate movement of opposite arm and opposite leg together (reciprocal coordination)

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Donkey Jump:

  • With both hands on the floor, kick up both legs together as high as you can

  • Requires stabilization of the core muscles in order to lift both legs off of the ground

  • Challenges balance by decreasing base of support from 4 points (arms and legs) to 2 points on surface (only arms)

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Snake Crawl:

  • On belly, slither like a snake across the floor

  • Strengthens the oblique muscles, as the trunk side bends  



Have fun!

Connor McCarthy